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Self Care for LGBTQ+ Youth and Allies

These tips are about being an ally for young people in the LGBTQ+ community, and self-care as an ally or as a youth who identifies as LGBTQ+ yourself.

Coming out should be on the person's own terms. Nobody else's. Respect your friend or loved ones' wishes on when and who they come out to.

Asexual: a person who identifies as asexual generally doesn't feel sexual attraction or a desire for sexuality with others.

Being an ally means being respectful and compassionate, validating their feelings, offering support when it is needed, and listening so they feel heard. How else could you be an LGBTQ+ ally?

Gender Non-Conforming: a person who does not fit in with traditional and societal expectations of a certain gender. They don't identify or express themselves as being male or female.

If you are having to constantly conceal your identity or sexual orientation, it can be draining. Find people and places you can be your genuine self around. You deserve to live your life as YOU.

Unfollow any social media or news outlets that may be toxic or harmful to your mental health! Instead, follow outlets that celebrate self-expression and the LGBTQ+ community.

It's okay to feel confused about who you're interested in. There's no rush to figure things out, so be patient with yourself. Allow yourself the time to reflect and to experiment if you're comfortable.

Intersex: a person is intersex if they are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit with society's definition of male or female.

Express yourself! Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident - no matter if it's a certain colour, style, or supposedly for a particular sex.

Pansexual: a person who identifies as pansexual feels sexual attraction towards individuals no matter their sex, gender or gender identity.

Having a difficult time coping? You're not alone. There is hope and there is help available. Talk to a guidance counsellor, visit services on your campus or call a helpline to find resources in your area. For a great database of LGBTQ+ resources, check out itgetsbetter.org!

Make it a habit of using a person's preferred pronouns. It may seem like a simple task, but it makes people feel respected. If you're not sure what pronoun to use, simply ask!

Being around people who share similar identities or feelings can help us to feel less alone. Are there any LGBTQ+ youth groups in your community you could join? If not, think about starting your own!

Coming out can be an incredibly difficult or scary experience. But it can also be liberating! Check out this great resource on coming out by The Trevor Project.

Gender fluid: a person who is gender fluid identifies as a mix of both genders. Their gender identity can vary and change. They may present themselves as female one day or male the next, or even a mix of both!

Two-spirit: a term used by Indigenous peoples who identify as possessing characteristics of both males and females, or who fulfill both female and male gender roles. 

Are you unsure of how to help a friend who is struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation? Sometimes all you need to do is sit back and listen. Ask them how you could be of support!

Just because someone is already out, doesn't mean they are an expert on the subject. Each person's journey is different and that's okay! Learn from each person's experience and apply what makes sense for you.

LGBTQ+ are at higher risk than their heterosexual peers to engage in risk-taking behaviours, such as drugs or alcohol. Make sure to talk with young people not only about their sexuality, but about activities they may be taking part in to cope.

Using LGBTQ+ social networking apps can be a great way to make connections in your community. Keep in mind that people can be different online vs in person. Be safe!

FtM / F2M and MtF / M2F: commonly used abbreviations that stand for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person, and male-to-female transgender or transsexual person, respectively.

Ze/Hir: are alternative pronouns that are gender neutral. They are pronounced "zee" and "here", and replace “he”/”she” and “his”/”hers”.These pronouns may be preferred by gender non-conforming people, but for others they may not!

Did you know PFLAG is an international organization that brings together LGBTQ+ youth, their families and allies to advance equality, support education and advocacy? Join the conversation by being part of your local chapter!

Hearing from other people about their coming out stories can be empowering. Sometimes all you need to know is that you aren't alone! 

Taking care of your sexual health is necessary. Both LGBTQ+ and heterosexual people need to be sexually responsible. There are risks for everyone! Be safe, get tested and protect yourself!

LGBTQQIA+: an acronym used to refer to many of the sexual minorities. It refers to “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual. The + sign symbolizes that many other sexual orientations/gender identities exist.